the generosity of the Blackberry Bramble

Blackberries hold energy for abundance healing, protection, and sweetening

Most of the year I spend battling the spread of blackberry bushes, clipping their runners and pulling seedlings out of the yard. Blackberry bushes thrive here to the point of being invasive. It isn't until the season shifts and the fruit ripens the thorny brambles shift from being mean and stabby to become generous providers. It will still stab you if you aren't careful but the harvest is worth the risk of the thorns.

The blackberry makes a wonderful protective hedge furnishing food and habitats for wildlife.

It is associated with protection and is considered a liminal plant guarding borders and feeding fairies. Bushes were crawled through to shed ailments. They were crafted into wreaths and hung to drive off curses. The leaves were burned to ward agianst jelousy.

D.C. Watts. Dictionary of Plant Lore, Elsevier Science, May 2, 2007, p 35-37

Blackberry bushes do make a protective boundary but they grow quickly into large brambles that spawns new plants with each dropped seed. So while they are a bane to manage, this time of year the bounty of berries makes the trouble worth it, at least for me.

Blackberry Jam

You will need:

6 cups blackberries

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 Tablespoons lemon juice

Place berries in a large sauce pan and mash. When the berry release their juices dip a measuring cup in and scoop out several tablespoons of liquid. Heat berries over medium heat as you stir to mash. Stir in sugar. Turn down heat when the mixture begins to simmer. Take the berry liquid you reserved and stir in the cornstarch until smooth. Add the mixture back into the berries and continue to cook as you stir. Cook about 10 minutes more then stir in the allspice and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool. This jam is wonderful on toast and as a filling in cookies, poptarts, and pies.

Blackberry Breakfast Cake

You will need:

1 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar plus more to sprinkle

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 Tablespoons lemon jusice

2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries patted dry.

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and melted butter and mix until smooth. Pour onto the prepared pan and top with the berries. Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake 60 - 70 minutes or until golden brown.

Blackberry Scones

You will need:

3 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter, cold cut into bits

3/4 cup milk

zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cups blackberries

In a large mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add the butter and work the dough with your fingers until the butter is distilled in small beads. Add the remaining ingredients and stir lightly to mix. Dump dough onto a floured workspace and work, gathering it together and pressing it down until it holds together but don't overwork. Press dough into a 3/4 inch thick disk. Cut into 8 or 9 wedges and freeze for 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake. Heat oven to 350. Place wedges on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25 minutes.